Journey of Magnet Excellence

For nearly six decades, Gracie Square Hospital has been a mainstay of the Upper East Side, providing the highest quality and most compassionate care to adults 18 years and older with behavioral health needs who can benefit from inpatient hospitalization. Gracie Square Hospital offers individuals a warm and welcoming environment in which to receive state-of-the-art treatment to facilitate a healthy recovery.

Gracie Square Hospital Executive Director & Chief Nursing Officer

Dear Colleagues,

image of Timothy McGarvey

We Did It!! We are now a Magnet® designated organization! 2022 was a truly amazing year! We have so much to be proud of and acknowledge. Despite the unprecedented challenges over the past several years, we accomplished extraordinary goals as one team. Throughout 2022 we worked together to achieve a successful Magnet site visit. So much time and planning went into the preparation for this visit, and the teamwork paid off tremendously. On December 14, 2022, we received a call from the American Nurse Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Commission on Magnet® who made the announcement that Gracie Square Hospital achieved Magnet® designation. Everyone, whether you met with the appraisers or stayed on the unit caring for patients, was exceptional. The appraisers were so impressed with the nurses, support staff, Board of Trustees, and our community partners. Our site visit was described as “magical” - there was so much tangible energy and enthusiasm! Thank you to everyone involved in this extraordinary recognition for the work you do every day.

This significant accomplishment sets the stage for what’s ahead in 2023. We are excited to finalize our Planetree Gold re-application, due in March 2023. Thank you to all who have worked so hard toward achieving this important goal. Our quality clinical indicators continue to be met and our employee engagement scores, released in 2022, were fantastic. The GSH mean in 2019 was 3.68 and improved to 4.01 in 2022. In addition, employees reported a significant increase in all 3 safety culture scores from 2021 to 2022. Thanks again to all the employees who completed this survey. Managers for each department will be facilitating employee engagement goals and tactics for 2023 based on your input and ideas.

In addition to continuing to celebrate our Magnet Designation and expected Planetree recognition, we plan are revamping our professional governance committee structure in 2023. We kicked off the improvements in January 2023, making the second Tuesday of each month designated as scheduled time for collaboration and innovation initiatives and meetings. Also in January 2023, we began the GSH Nursing Clinical Ladder as a professional development and recognition program for increasing nurse satisfaction, retention, and recognition opportunities.

On the facilities side, construction work in day rooms will be completed in 2023 to meet external safety requirements. We will also be completing significant work in the employee locker rooms. This work is scheduled to begin in early 2023. Dr. Wilner and I will be seeking your input into the design of the renovated locker rooms.

Thank you for contributions you make to patients, each other, and the communities. We continue to highlight Gracie Square Hospital and the wonderful work done by all of you. Please be sure to look for GSH on LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social media outlets.


Timothy P. McGarvey MSN, LMSW, RN, NEA-BC
Executive Director & Chief Nursing Officer

Gracie Square Nursing Department: Our Mission & Vision

The foundation to our journey of nursing excellence is our commitment to our patients and communities as expressed in our mission and vision statements. Through our Professional Governance Model, our nurses own their professional practice, allowing each individual to perform to the top of their professional license.


To serve our communities by providing world-class person and family centered care in an empowering and innovative professional nursing practice environment.


To be the world leader in nursing.

The Roadmap – Our Strategic Plan

This is a “living” document that is the basis of the work we do to promote professional development, patient safety and quality care, an improved work environment, utilization of technology to support nurses in the day to day functions, and patient engagement in achieving health and well-being. The Strategic Plan consists of the following major domains: professional development and education, quality and patient safety, advancing care, operational excellence, technology innovation, nursing engagement, and patient-family experience.

Nursing Strategic Plan 2022-2023
Themes (Areas of Focus) What we want to accomplish
Professional Development and Education (PDE)
  • Foster life long learning through an ongoing commitment to continued professional development for our nurses, including a 1% increase in nursing certification in 2022. Maintain 80% of RN with BSN or higher.
  • Recruit and retain top talent.
  • Increase opportunities for professional growth and development through Nurse Clinical Ladder and Clinical Nurse Manager roles.
Quality and Safety (QS)
  • Outperform national NDNQI benchmarks for nurse sensitive outcomes and HBIPS measures.
  • Actively engage nurses in unit based /hospital based quality improvement activities.
  • Decrease falls rate
  • Improve Seclusion and Restraint documentation
Advancing Care/Professional Practice/Shared Governance (AC)
  • Ensure structures and processes for autonomy in nursing practice and shared decision making.
  • Promote evidence based practice and research in all areas where nursing is practiced.
Operational Excellence (OE)
  • Demonstrate strong fiscal knowledge and responsibility.
  • Redesign units to improve workflow and patient safety.
Technology Innovation (TI)
  • Support nurses in using technology to drive evidence based practice, efficiency, and patient safety.
  • Enhance use of EPIC platform.
Patient and Nurse Experience (PSX)
  • Promote a culture of nurse engagement, accountability, and team work. Recognition of outstanding work.
  • Improvement in Press Ganey scores.
  • Improve patient experience through the Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC).

Our Professional Practice Model

Nurse practice model

2022 Measures of Distinction


National Board Certification Rate


Percent of RNs with BSN and Higher Degrees


Newly Obtained National Board Certification


Formal Degrees Conferred


Nursing Research Studies Completed


Nursing Research Studies in Progress


Professional Publication(s)


Podium Presentation(s)


Poster Presentation(s)

2022 Contributions of Nurses

Transforming Care with Patient- and Family-Centered Nurse-Led Behavioral Treatment Plans

The interprofessional team of the Mood Disorders and Young Adult Unit noted an increase in restraint and seclusion use. Maggie Donovan, MSN, RN, Clinical Nurse Manager, led an initiative with psychology, nursing, and social work to strengthen nursing practice using American Psychiatric Nursing Association standards and evidence-based practices. In collaboration with Nadine Chang, PhD, licensed clinical psychologist, the nurses developed and implemented individualized plans for the early identification and consistent application of treatment for targeted symptoms to keep employees and patients safe.


Following implementation, early results indicated a decrease in restraint use. The unit’s interprofessional team continues to engage patients to help them identify triggers and opportunities to self-manage behaviors to facilitate discharge.

Taking Care of Each Other: Implementation of a Peer Support and Debriefing Program

Clinical nurses Michaela Gianfrancesco, BSN, RN; Hilary Lamb, BSN, RN; and nursing assistant Alton Finely joined an interprofessional team of trained employee volunteers to launch a Peer Support and Debriefing Program. The program incorporates listening, providing support, and offering resources. Employees are encouraged to contact the team to debrief events at work and in their personal lives, such as challenging psychiatric emergencies, difficult conversations with patients, losses at work and at home, and other situations.


A number of employees sought support from the team, demonstrating the resilience and significance employees place on taking care of themselves and each other. One resource that is consistently shared is the Employee Assistance Program, which provides counseling and other supportive resources to all employees and their household members. Keeping each other safe reinforces a sense of belonging and a healthy work environment.

Commission on Magnet® Cites Exemplary Patient Outcomes

For eight consecutive quarters, Gracie Square Hospital outperformed the national mean and comparison cohort demonstrating excellence in nursing care for nurse satisfaction, patient falls with injury, hospital-acquired pressure injuries, patient hours in physical restraints, patient experience related to patient education, and patient experience related to courtesy and respect.


On December 4, 2022, Jeanette Ives Erickson, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Chair of the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Commission on Magnet Recognition announced Gracie Square Hospital’s first Magnet designation. Dr. Erickson reported that the hospital received exemplars in the areas noted above.

Innovative Interprofessional Community Program Keeps Community Safe

Dual Focus Program clinical nurses Lindsay Ostrander, BSN, RN, PMH-BC, Co-Chair, Unit Practice Council, and Michaela Gianfrancesco, BSN, RN, Unit Clinical Coordinator and Co-Chair, Unit Practice Council, met with Francine Fakih, MA, RN, NEA-BC, Director of Nursing, to advocate for increasing distribution of Naloxone (Narcan®) kits provided to patients. They also expressed an interest in holding community events throughout the hospital’s Upper East Side neighborhoods to distribute the kits, provide education about their value, and how they are administered to save lives. In partnership with Samuel Beshara, PharmD, CCP, Pharmacy Manager, who obtained the kits and reduced barriers for dispensing the medications, the clinical nurses ensured all patients were offered the kits at discharge.


The number of Narcan kits provided at discharge increased from eight kits in March 2022 to 129 kits in September 2022. The nurses also held numerous community sidewalk events at which they distributed the kits.